CONCORD, NC (September 3, 2002) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Racing team are in the midst of their best Winston Cup Series season yet. Currently 10th in the point standings with 11 races to go in the season, hopes are still high in the DEWALT...
CONCORD, NC (September 3, 2002) - Matt Kenseth and the DEWALT Racing team are in the midst of their best Winston Cup Series season yet. Currently 10th in the point standings with 11 races to go in the season, hopes are still high in the DEWALT camp for a respectable finish. Earlier in the season, and after three trips to victory lane, Kenseth and his team were picked as championship contenders. But with nine finishes or 30th place or worse, they have found themselves 394 points behind leader Sterling Marlin, and in need of some ground to make up.
So how does Kenseth plan on making up the real estate separating tenth place and the Winston Cup?
"We really need to have nothing else to go wrong for us this season," said Kenseth in a recent interview. "I know that is hard to do with the level of competition these days, but we have shown we are capable of beating the best. To get back up there in points, we need to be absolutely consistent and can't afford for anymore parts to break or mistakes to be made. Each time something like that happens, it we get further and further from our goal.
"This is one of the best points battles for the championship I have seen in a long time, and I believe we're still right in the middle of it. This far into the season to be in a position where you can grab on to a top five finish in the points is great, we just need to capitalize on every performance. For the most part this year, our performance has been good enough to win three races and has been championship level, but the all of finishes have not been there."
Finishes like getting caught up in "The Big One" in both Daytona races and Talladega are the ones Kenseth is referring to. The No. 17 team led by crew chief Robbie Reiser sure has had their share of heartburn this year. Kenseth and Reiser would no sooner like to forget leading the majority of the race at New Hampshire and having a tire go down with nine laps to go. Or breaking a two dollar part while leading at Pocono, blowing a tire at Dover, hitting the wall at Darlington just as the car was coming around.
For the remainder of the season, Kenseth would like to maintain a steady flow of consistent finishes. He will also have opportunities to capitalize on solid spring race performances. Kenseth was the hard charger at Richmond as he came back from two laps down to finish sixth and Martinsville where he finished just behind winner Bobby Labonte. He was strong at Lowe's Motor Speedway finishing just behind teammate Mark Martin and New Hampshire - well New Hampshire owes him one.
"With 11 to go, and going back to certain tracks we have done well at earlier this year, I think we will be in the position to win another race or two. If not, as a team we need to keep it all together and make sure we still running at the end of these races, and put ourselves in position to win or be in the top five each week."
"As a team we are looking forward to the schedule rounding out the season," said Reiser. "We are returning to tracks we have had some success at, and as long as we make no mistakes and don't have anything go wrong, we are still right in the middle of this thing (points race). The guys are getting ready to defend their Pit Crew Championship at Rockingham and continue to beat teams on pit road each week. It's a team effort and we win as a team and lose as a team. We are hoping to get some more wins before this year is through. All in all, I am really proud of this team for everything they have accomplished this year so far."
As the saying goes, you can't keep a good man down. There is no exception with the DEWALT Team, they might have had some misfortune this year, don't count them out just yet. The points battle is heating up, and the DEWALT Team plans to add some fuel to the fire.